Exercise your right to cast a vote

By Gianna Shikitino
September 25, 2008

Shannon Keough

Election day, a day that comes every four years to declare the next U.S. president. A day that we as Americans, have the opportunity to make a choice.

It’s not just any old choice, like voting for the next American Idol, the ballots on Nov. 4, will mean something more.

I think it’s amazing how we have the chance to make a choice in this election. Voting is so important, and since this election is the first election I can participate in, I want my voice to be heard.

I was googling “Election Day” a few days ago. I know what you’re thinking – why the heck would I google “Election Day.” I wanted to find out how many people had voted in the previous election. And of course, Google had gave me the answer.

The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate posted a voter turnout in recent presidential elections. The highest turnout was in 2004. The number of people eligible to vote were 201,541,000. The total of those who voted were 122,265,430.

The percent of those eligible to vote who actually did was 60.7. This upcoming election, we can increase that percentage, if we get involved in the process of voting.

I don’t think many people realize how important voting actually is. Some 18-21 year olds believe they have more important things to worry about, which I can say that I’ve been guilty here.

It wasn’t until late summer that I began focusing on the election, since my grandfather refused to watch anything else but CNN. And since this election has been getting much attention by the press and media, I thought that I should finally start to tune in.

I mean I didn’t really have a choice. The election rage was spilling everywhere, on TV, magazines, YouTube and even in daily conversations. Then I realized both candidates are trying to capture youth voters since the youth is the voice of the future.

It finally hit me that I had to give into sitting with my grandfather and watch numerous debates to see who can make the changes that this country needs.

Many TV shows use voting as a way for us to decide who is worthy of winning. So why not apply that to the election? Shows like America’s Best Dance Crew and even the VMAs rely on voters to make the decisions for them. If we can interact with TV shows that we enjoy, why not interact with our candidates? Well, my friends, the media has made it possible.

I’m sure all of you know of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, Web sites we choose to go to when we have free time, but did you know that both John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns use the three Web sites?

They both have debates recorded and uploaded on YouTube for users to view and post comments. They each have MySpace and Facebook accounts, to which users can RSVP to local rallys, send messages, read blogs post comments and view their ideas on the issues America is facing. This is very strategic, and who do you think it targets? The youth.

You’re not going to see a 65-year-old voter viewing blogs and posting comments on a MySpace or Facebook, and if you do, that is pretty rare.

If you aren’t sure of which candidate you will be voting for, start to follow up on each candidate and choose by seeing which candidate’s decisions would be of your liking. Become educated in their ideas on our major issues, such as health care, the economy and the war.

If you’re like me and you don’t like reading articles about the presidents, watch some of their rallays and debates. See which candidate inspires you.

As for us 18-21 year olds, this will be the first election we can vote, make a difference and have our voices be heard.

Why would you not want to get involved? Not only for the sake of us, but for the future of our children and grandchildren.

We have the power to make a choice for the future. Isn’t that something you want to be a part of?

So pick your candidate, register to vote and get some friends to join you, whether you agree or disagree on who you choose. It’s your choice.

Now go out there and make a difference!

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Gianna Shikitino

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